GCU hospitality students getting hands on experience at Maryvale ballpark

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Many people have heard of internships, but Grand Canyon University's hospitality program is taking it one step further by expanding its partnership with the global hospitality company Delaware North to give its students a chance to get hands-on experience on a deeper level.

The Milwaukee Brewers' spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks took place at American Family Fields in Phoenix, formerly known as Maryvale Baseball Park, on Wednesday. Baseball fans at the game most likely bought their food and drinks from GCU students, who are working 85% of the concession stands at the ballpark, gaining real work experience and connections with Delaware North.

Just like applying for a real job, the students have applied to work at the concession stands at the ballpark. Some worked as attendants, while others hold supervisory roles.

"It's a great opportunity for the hospitality kids across the country to come into a ballpark and get some real-life experience," said Assistant General Manager of Delaware North, Jordan Burke. "Get to witness the games, live and see if they want to move forward with this in the future."

The stadium also features Canyon 49's popular signature BBQ burger, run by GCU students. Kids who start from the bottom can work their way up.

"Before I started working at GCU, I was kind of shy, kind of timid, but this really gets me out of my comfort zone and converse with other people from everywhere else," said GCU student Karlyn Richard.

One student, Karen Madlock is even on track to be promoted to student general manager next year.

"I feel like I've been able to talk to a lot of different people in different fields that you wouldn't quite see as hospitality management," said Madlock.

GCU's Hospitality General Manager, Brett Cortright, said at the end of the day, his job is to get these students jobs after graduation.

"Couple of my students have moved on with Delaware North, the company who's running the stadium, and they've gone and worked at the Grand Canyon, they've gone out to San Diego, they've run the Charger's Stadium, those sorts of things, so it's been really exciting," said Cortright.

The unique program started about three years ago with about a dozen students. Delaware North says it now has expanded with more than a hundred students. Most hospitality students learn about running hotels, cruise ships, catering businesses, or learn about becoming wedding planners or event planners. This is another side of the hospitality industry they can learn about through this unique program, and get paid for it at the same time.